A SHORT celebration with victorious teammates before wishing his opponents well and heading off to see baby Oscar.

What a way to finish the weekend for Centrals captain Ben O'Connell.

The new dad had an added reason to be beaming with excitement after his focused team completed its semi-final mission.

Centrals qualified for their first Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket Association grand final since 2008 after beating Eastern Taipans by seven wickets today.

The match finished about 2pm on the second day, giving O'Connell enough time to congratulate his teammates and share a quick beer with the Taipans before visiting partner Amelia in hospital.

The couple's second child Oscar Calvin arrived on semi-final eve, weighing eight pound, two ounces.

"It was very strategically played that one so that was good,'' O'Connell said with a huge grin.

The West Moreton Anglican College teacher took Friday off in readiness for Oscar's arrival.

While his priority was with his family, he was hoping to be able to join his Centrals teammates for their semi-final campaign.

He did and put opponents Taipans on the back foot immediately at Mark Marsh Oval.

"We surprised them by deciding to bowl first,'' O'Connell said. "They probably expected us to bat first but we backed our bowling.''

As they had successfully in recent weeks, Centrals' bowlers stood up to be counted.

The destroyer was again vice-captain Nick Vellacott, who snared 4/43 off 17 overs. He dismissing the top three batsmen.

O'Connell (2/31), Mick Abbott (2/5) and Rhys O'Sullivan (1/12) chipped in.

Sporting all-rounder Brodie Kenyon (53) was the only Taipans player to offer any resistance.

By stumps on day one, Centrals were already 1/34 chasing 145 to win.

O'Connell was delighted how his team played cautiously in overcast conditions during the final hour on Saturday before wrapping up the game comfortably today.

"We knew we had all day to bat,'' the skipper said. "We just wanted to be intentful and positive from the start.''

Caleb Risson (69 not out) and Wayne Jones (33 not out) steered Centrals to victory.

The teams had met in 13 previous encounters, having four wins each.

By breaking the deadlock, Centrals will meet Laidley in the four-day grand final starting on Saturday at Baxter Oval.

First division semi-final: Centrals 3/150 off 54 overs (Caleb Risson 69 not out, Wayne Jones 33 not out) def Taipans innings 144 off 61 overs (Brodie Kenyon 53; Nick Vellacott 4/43).



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